RockCock is a yearly festival taking place at Väinölänniemi in Kuopio, and the surroundings at the festival are something to behold, with a beautiful sandy beach and glassy water surrounding the area, so it really adds to the atmosphere.
Upon arrival at the festival, our first port of call was to head over to the Rantalava stage to see the magnificent Turmion Kätilöt, and having been a fan of this band for a good few years, it was great to finally witness their music in a live environment. What was particularly good was that you could see each member really giving it their all and despite the fact I couldn’t really understand the numerous jokes and anecdotes peppered between the songs, some of which caused great amusement amongst the crowd, I couldn’t help but feel a part of the excellent atmosphere all the same – and that is truly testament to a good performance. They even played my favourite song of theirs, Pyhä maa, which really had an almighty kick to it when performed live!
Playing next on the Stadionlava stage was Viikate but unfortunately their performance left a bit to be desired, especially after the engaging set from Turmion Kätilöt. Playing rather dull and uninspired generic ‘dad rock’, there just wasn’t any life to the performance which was largely down to the lack of movement onstage and the sheer fact the songs just blended into one another and sounded similar. They weren’t necessarily bad, but they weren’t great either.
Following the Viikate set, there was a beach volleyball tournament scheduled between Turmion Kätilöt and Verjnuarmu – which clearly wasn’t something to be missed! Arriving at the beach area just after the first game had begun, we watched as the Turmion Kätilöt guys edged out ahead before taking a comfortable win.
Coming out all guns blazing in the second set, Verjnuarmu absolutely dominated at first, racking up an impressive eight points to Turmion Kätilöt’s zero, but Turmion Kätilöt soon clawed their way back like men possessed and both sides racked up points until the score sat at an even fifteen-all, with Verjnuarmu fighting for a draw (and potential ‘best of three’ fight) and Turmion Kätilöt fighting for an all-out win, with both sides requiring a two-point lead to take the win. And with some perfectly executed serves and defending, Turmion Kätilöt took the win and the whole band took to the ‘court’ in celebration.
Needing to kill some time before seeing Kuolemanlaakso, we headed overto the Puistolava stage to catch the latter half of Shades Of Nowhere’s set – and what an enjoyable performance it was! Despite being completely unfamiliar with the band prior to the festival, they really left a mark on me with their energetic music and good vibes onstage. In particular their keyboardist couldn’t be pinned down, frequently wandering about the stage to play other member’s instruments and pouring beer into bandmates mouths when the music didn’t feature a keyboard section! The band showed a lot of promise and hopefully in time they will grow into more of a big name in the industry.
Not much after the end of the set from Shades Of Nowhere, Kuolemanlaakso arrived on-site at the festival so I headed to meet up with them and it ultimately meant that the next performance I actually ended up seeing was theirs at the Puistolava stage. The set began with the sounds of Sycamore Trees from the Twin Peaks soundtrack, with smoke blowing across the stage.
It really added a lot of atmosphere before Kuolemanlaakso even took to the stage, and then things progressed into the first full song of the set, Aarnivalkea which was gripping from start to finish before the band moved into Minä elän, which was as truly crushing live as it was on CD, but the first true highlight of the set came next, with the performance of Etsin. The rendition of Etsin was truly one that sent shivers down my spine; as the slow and atmospheric introduction set the scene, you couldn’t help but get immersed and lost in the music, especially with the addition of the mysterious half-growled, half-spoken vocals before a more fuller sound is brought in. Quite simply, it was a beautiful rendition of an already-beautiful piece.
Another highlight of the set was Uljas uusi maailma. Although not necessarily one my immediate go-to-favourites of the band’s discography, this inclusion in the performance was perhaps the greatest portion of the set. There was something so powerful about the chanted sections of “Uljas uusi maailma”, especially when coupled with guest vocals from guitar tech Sami, and it really helped to give the song an extra kick to truly take your breath away.
Kuolemanlaakso closed the set with Aurinko, which was somewhat ironic given that we’d barely seen any aurinko (sun) for the duration of the festival before more Twin Peaks music flooded the stage. (Note: This was possibly Laura Palmer’s theme or the love theme, but by this point I was riding high on the awesome sensation of finally witnessing a live performance from Kuolemanlaakso that my memory is slightly fuzzy on the details!) It was a riveting, gripping and engaging set from start to finish, and Kuolemanlaakso really gave a performance to be proud of; instrumentally tight and very memorable for all the right reasons.
Kuopio RockCock finished with a headline performance from Children Of Bodom, and as fireworks exploded to close their set, it was an epic ending to an all-round excellent afternoon and evening – and an event I will look fondly back upon for a long time to come.
“The beautiful thing about treasure is that it exists. It exists to be found. How beautiful it is to find treasure. Where is the treasure, that when found, leaves one eternally happy?”
– Log Lady, Twin Peaks